Reviewing The Island of Grenada

Grenada, West Indies

Grenada

The majority of my adult life I dreamed of moving to an island in the Caribbean and living the good life.  Never in my wildest imagination did I ever really think my dream would become a reality.  And then I moved to Grenada.  However, the good life consists of me studying day in and day out working towards a medical degree.  Lucky for me, when I’m not in class I get to enjoy my beautiful surrounds.  

Things to do

  1. I Beach!!!  I only require my headphones, a good book, water, and a snack.  I can literally do this sunrise to sunset.  
  2. Hike.  Grenada has many beautiful waterfalls.  You can easily find a local to take you on a tour.  It’s not expensive to go and it’s a great experience.  Just take bug spray.  Grenada
  3. Sail.  I had a friend that owned a catamaran.  Lucky for me, he was willing to take me and my friends sailing when we needed a break.  
  4. BINGO.  These people LOVE their bingo.  It’s like their lottery.  People play for money, cars, and goats.  Yes, I said goats.  
  5. Karaoke.  I’m not the best, but after a shot or two I’m the next Whitney.  
  6. Crab racing.  This was a completely new concept for me.  But it’s actually a big thing in Grenada.  You pick a crab, they are placed in the middle of a giant sand drawn circle, and which ever carb leaves the circle first wins.   
  7. Night Life.  If you’re in your 20s you’ll like Bananas.  You’ll find mostly SGU students there mixed with a few locals.  If you’re looking for a more authentic experience then you may like Fantazia.  The crowd is more mature (late 20’s and above) and it’s less crowded than Bananas.  
  8. Turtle watching.  OMG, probably the best excursion on the island in my opinion.  I love nature.  These were hatchlings we spotted on their way to the ocean, a very rare sight.Grenada

Restaurants 

Sooooo, I wasn’t impressed with the food in Grenada.  Actually, I was disappointed.  Most restaurants are okay, so don’t go expecting to find exquisite cuisines here.  The best thing in my opinion was the ambiance.  Most restaurants had amazing water views and live music.

Places I’ve tried:

  1.  Umbrella’s probably the most popular because it’s on Grand Anse Beach.  The food and drinks are cheap.  You can get a burger, fries, and a beer for less than $20 USD.  They serve mostly American style food.  (Stuff you’ll find at a chain restaurant)
  2. BB’s Crab Back was the best restaurant that I experienced.  They serve fresh seafood and other local dishes.  It’s in a great location and you can sit over the water.  This place is pricey (for my budget).  I went with a friend and we spent approximately $100 USD for two entrees, an appetizer, and a bottle of wine. 
  3. Yolo Sushi Bar was also very tasty.  It’s vegetarian friendly and has a good variety.  This place is on the pricier end, but not as much as BB’s.  I think my entree was $25 USD. 
  4. Aquarium is a restaurant located on Magazine beach.  It’s in a beautiful location on a less populated beach.  It’s actually my favorite beach in Grenada.  On Sundays they have live music and a DJ.  The food is okay.  It’s over priced for what they offer, but the drinks are on point.  I only needed one rum punch to get right.  
  5. Beach House Restaurant is on Grooms beach.  The food was over priced and not impressive.  It’s only nice because it’s right on the beach, which is also secluded.  
  6. True Blue Inn is located directly on True Blue Bay.  It’s really close to SGU and many students live in the area.  It’s a fun and trendy place to eat and the views of SGU are gorgeous.  The best day to go is Wednesday.  That’s when they have different venders from the area and you can purchase tickets to sample local authentic Grenadian food from each of the venders.  
  7. Prickly Bay Marina is a fun place.  Here, I met sailors from around the world that basically made Grenada their winter residence.  The food is on the pricer side for what you get, but the views are gorgeous.  The drinks are over priced too so it’s best to go during happy hour.  

My Review

Grenada is a small island with beautiful beaches.  It’s a nice island to visit if you’re looking for relaxation.  You’ll mainly find older couples or students.  There’s really no in-between.  If you do decided to come, bring some extra cash because things are not cheap.  

Find me on pinterest and check out my article on eating real food.

Make practical choices for a healthier lifestyle.

Tiffany Rebekah

Goals: Getting My Life In 2017

goals

I’ve heard this a time or two and you probably have too.  I’m actually a planner, a darn good one at that.  I’ll plan the crap out of an event.  Vacation, party, budget, schedule…… You name it and honey I’ve got a plan. What I am not, is a New Year’s resolutions maker.  Some of us assume we’ll magically transform into a new person on January 1st.  As if at the stoke of midnight, your fairy god mother will strike you with her magic wand and say, “wallah.”  It takes a catapillar two weeks to transform into a butterfly.  But let’s be real here; two weeks into the New Year and we’re already back to the same ole shenanigans from the prior year.

“So what makes this year different for me?”, you ask.  I’m using my natural ability to plan and applying it to my 2017 goals.  Normally, I’m a very private person, so announcing my goals to the world is quite difficult for me.  Although I enjoy writing my blog, I still find it hard to put my inner most feelings and weaknesses on public display.  But writing them on the blog for the world to see makes me accountable which will increase my chances of actually hitting my goals.  

Let’s get started.  With my big girl panties on, I sit here listening to “Retrograde” by James Blake on repeat, here we go.  

2017 Goals

My first and most important goal is to strengthen my relationship with God.  I’m Christian and God is important to me.  This year I’m making it a point to put God first in everything I do.  The past few years I’ve been distracted and haven’t spent as much time with God like I should’ve.  This has to change.  This year, I’m following a daily devotional.  Following a daily devotional plan is an easy way for me to connect with God on a daily basis.  I use the Bible app on my iPad and I’ve committed to the “Bible In One Year 2017” plan.  It takes about 20 minutes every morning to read through and then pray.

My second goal is to gain stronger focus and self-discipline.  This one goal will help me achieve the many others that follow after it.  I struggle with consistency and staying on track.  Last year, I was most productive when I scheduled my week down to the hour (using my natural planning abilities).  I even incorporated relaxation and flex time into the schedule.  You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t a rock star for those few weeks.  Your girl had a to-do list and everything.  But that was short lived because I became complacent.  Looking back, I got more done in a day then than I do now in a week.  

Increased focus and discipline will help me with the following:

  1. Successfully completing year 1 of medical school.
  2. Exercising 5 days a week which will help with stress, sleep, fitness.  
  3. Resisting junk food!  Lord knows I love to eat.  It might be my favorite pass time.  But, last year I let life get the best of me and ate any and everything.  Plus, I wasn’t cooking and taking my lunch to school.  Well, let me tell you.  My fat jeans have informed me just how out of hand I’ve gotten. 

So in an attempted to begin the snap back process, I went to hit the gym today.  I was met with this sign.goals

What in the world is this?  Now they know good and well, people are trying to get their life right in January and they go and close the gym.  

goals

It’s all good.  I ended up doing a quick jog around the neighborhood.  No excuses!

My third goal is to keep a regular sleep schedule.  Believe it or not, first year medical students have time to sleep if we practice good time management.  But many of us lollygag at night on social media when it’s time for bed.  I wasted so much time making the rounds.  First FB, then IG, and lastly snap chat (which I’m still learning, ahh the joys of being in your 30’s).  Anyway, my goal is to be asleep by 12 a.m. and awake at 7 a.m..  

My fourth goal is to deal with my stress and anxiety in a more constructive manner.  This ties with my above discipline goal.  Diet and exercise are key components; but it helps me if I “write” out the stress.  When I was younger, I would journal.  It was like therapy for me.  I stopped when my ex-boyfriend found my journal and read it cover to cover.  I guess you can figure out why he’s an ex. Right?  

Either way, it helped me express my emotions so I didn’t keep them all bottled up.  Imagine randomly crying because your professor asked you how your day was going.  Yup, it happened.  It just so happen, I was having a terrible week.  But that particular morning, I woke up to no running water.  That resulted in me being late and skipping breakfast and my morning coffee.  Then I missed my bus to class and I had to walk to catch a cab.  If that wasn’t bad enough it began pouring.  Mind you, I’m living in the Caribbean so it’s one of those good heavy tropical down pours.  But like the good sport I am, I sucked it up and reached for my umbrella only to remember I left it because I was running late.   So yeah, that one question, “How is your day?” made me cry.  

Luckliy, I always keep sunglasses on me.  So I snatched those janks on and sprinted to the ladies room to check my emotions and fix my face.

goals

My fourth goal is to make time for the things I love.  Like, I have to schedule it in my weekly calendar.  My classes this term will be in the afternoon, Monday – Friday from 1 – 5 p.m..  The best time for me to make personal time is Friday evenings after I’m brain dead from the week.  

During this personal time I want to do the following:

  1. Beach more
  2. Grow the blog 
  3. Start vlogging
  4. Make time for family and friends

This post will be the foundation to holding myself accountable for reaching my goals in 2017.  Also, I realize that things won’t change overnight.  I’m curious to know what other people are working on.  Share some of your goals and what your plan is to accomplish them.

Check out my article on eating real food and find me on pinterest.

Striving to make practical changes for healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

Anxiety: 4 Anti-Anxiety Foods

My heart was racing.  I began chocking and then I couldn’t breath.  I felt light headed as if I was about to pass out.  Terrified, I struggled trying to figure out what has happening to me.  This lasted 5 to 10 minutes and then the feeling passed.  It was my first anxiety attack.  

anxiety

What caused my anxiety attack?

  1. Poor diet
  2. Lack of sleep
  3. Lack of exercise
  4. Stress
  5. No balance

In January of 2016, I moved to a small island in the West Indies to start medical school where I didn’t know a soul.  I quickly learned my way around and made new friends.  As I settled into caribbean life, student life began to take off like a straight up rollercoaster ride.  One minute you’re feeling the high and the next minute you’re questioning the meaning of life.  

While most of us medical students feel a sense of pride and gratitude for our opportunities, we neglect to talk about the dark side of a medical student’s lifestyle.   No one knows the stress that we’re under and the constant hit our psyche takes day after day.  We’re constantly worrying if we’re studying correctly, have we learned enough, and will we remember it all.  Check out how CNN describes depression in the medical field.  

anxiety

For me, I knew what I was getting into.  I was willing to let my personal life take a hit to follow my passion.  But you need people.  You can’t do this thing alone.  Medical students struggle with reaching out because we’re so use to doing everything ourselves.  Often times, we feel outsiders won’t understand the struggle we go through.  Trust me, the struggle is real!

It’s not all doom and gloom.  Number one, I freaking live in paradise and the beach is always a short distance away.  Number two, it’s always 80 degrees.  Yes, 80 degrees!!  Also, I’ve met some really cool people and some lifelong friends.  Lastly, we know what we’re learning will change and hopefully save lives and that’s an awesome feeling.  Not to mention, I love learning about how amazing our bodies are.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t change a thing except how I handle stress.  Oh, and maybe going to the beach a little more often.  (adding to my to-do list)

anxiety

What have I learned? 

I can’t neglect myself.  I need to eat well, exercise everyday, and I need sleep.  All this sounds simple right?  Well, let me tell you.  Once you sit through your first week of class, you quickly realize your behind and you begin to sacrifice the basics to keep up.  So, I’m taking back to the basics and incorporating food that will help keep my stress and anxiety levels down.  

4 Anti-Anxiety Foods

  1.  Spinach is high in folic acid and helps with depression.  It’s also rich in magnesium which helps to control the stress hormone cortisol.  anxiety
  2. Wild Salmon is rich in B12 and B6 and deficiencies are linked to anxiety, panic attacks and depression.  B vitamins are important for healthy nerves and brain cells.  Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids which is an anti-inflammatory.  Omega-3 helps controls the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. anxiety
  3. Guavas are very high in vitamin C which also helps control the stress hormone cortisol.anxiety
  4. Seeds & Nuts.  Pumpkin seeds are high in tryptophan which helps with the release of serotonin, the feel good hormone.
    anxiety

Now that I’m starting a new semester, I’m going to make it a point to make sure I don’t neglect myself especially my diet.  I’ll also be incorporating more time in my schedule for exercise.  The combination between the two will definitely help my anxiety.

What strategies do you use to combat anxiety?  Let me know.

Check out my article on eating real food and find me on pinterest.

Make practical changes for healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

Easy Oil-Free Hot Wings

Hot wings might possibly be may favorite food.  Fried, baked, grilled, boneless, or traditional, I eat them all.  They aren’t the healthiest thing to shove down your throat but they’re so darn irresistible.   They are definitely my comfort food of choice when I’m stressed out.  So, I had to figure out a healthier option because I’m not giving them up. 

These hot wings are so flavorful and this recipe uses minimal ingredients.  I mixed two ingredients that I love to make the sauce and then I seasoned the wings.  I made them in the oven under the broiler.  It took less than 30 minutes.  You must give them a shot.  

Hot Wings

When are they good to make?  Any time!  Of course I’m biased, but they’d be great for parties, especially Super Bowl parties.  Hot wings are a staple food that belongs in most get togethers.  You can’t throw a Super Bowl party without hot wings.  Facts! 

hot wings

Fun fact, I love spicy food and I looooooove sriracha sauce.  That mess is good on everything.  It’s like hot sauce with a kick.  So why not mix it with a little honey to make something amazing?  

You can easily season your wings anyway you want, but try putting them under the broiler if you don’t want to light up your grill.  Use parchment paper to prevent them from sticking to the pan.  Also, the parchment paper prevents you from having to use any type of oil.  The great thing about parchment paper is that you can throw it away.  Easy clean up!!

hot wings

We all hate the clean up after cooking so any little short cut deserves a celebration.  So lets happy dance for the wings and another dance for the clean up.  There’s no reason not to try this easy, healthier spin on traditional hot wings. 

Make practical choices for a healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

Check out my article on eating real food and look for me on pinterest.  

Honey Sriracha Hot Wings
Serves 2
Oil-Free Hot Wings
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
186 calories
7 g
66 g
7 g
24 g
2 g
93 g
786 g
6 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
93g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 186
Calories from Fat 59
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
10%
Saturated Fat 2g
9%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 66mg
22%
Sodium 786mg
33%
Total Carbohydrates 7g
2%
Dietary Fiber 1g
2%
Sugars 6g
Protein 24g
Vitamin A
9%
Vitamin C
7%
Calcium
2%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 12 chicken wings
  2. 1 table spoon honey
  3. 2 table spoon Sriracha Chili Sauce
  4. 1 teaspoon red pepper
  5. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Add seasoning to wings. You can adjust to your taste.
  2. Place the wings on a baking sheet spread a part and bake for on 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
  3. While the wings bake, mix the honey and sriracha sauce together.
  4. Remove the wings from the oven and drain the grease.
  5. Toss the wings and the mix until they covered.
  6. Place the wings back on the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Turn the oven to broil and back on each side for an additional 7 minutes.
Notes
  1. Leave wings under the broiler to make them crispier.
beta
calories
186
fat
7g
protein
24g
carbs
7g
more
Tiffany Rebekah Lifestyle http://www.tiffanyrebekahlifestyle.com/
Seven Sisters Waterfalls

Hiking Tips: Seven Sisters Waterfalls

4 Quick Hiking Tips for Seven Sisters Waterfalls

Need an adventure while in Grenada?  How about a hike through the Grand Etang rain forest to the Seven Sisters Waterfalls?  If you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to see the curious Mona Monkeys and they might just look for treasure in your pockets too.   Grand Etang National Park is home to many more exotic animals such as armadillos, tropical mocking birds, or iguanas.  Lucky for me, this rain forest is snake free ๐Ÿ˜‰.  Worked out great, since I’m deathly afraid of them.  

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

1.  Bring Extra Water

This hike is the truth.  It takes about an hour each way depending on which trail you choose.  It’s not difficult, however it’s not for the faint hearted.  First you pass through a private plantation where you get a chance to see many fruits and spices grown on the island.  Then the trail begins through the rain forest with many options to choose from.  The paths aren’t well defined so I wouldn’t recommend going alone.  Hydrate well before you begin because you will sweat like hot sausages. 

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

2.  Wear Good Shoes

DO NOT WEAR FLIP FLOPS.  This may be a hard concept to grasp, but trust me, flip-flops are a no-no.  I chose athletic sandals because I could get them wet.  The trails are slippery especially after a good rain and you’ll bust your butt in the wrong shoes.  Even in the right shoes, you’re likely to fall in the mud.  It’s a high probability you may end up with mud on your bum, so wear something old.     

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

3.  Bring Bug Spray

Just wear it.  The Zika is real honey.  As of this post there have been 3 cases.  You don’t want to be the 4th.  I’m not a fan of deet but I’m a bigger fan of not catching something from a mosquito.  I’m a mosquito magnet.  I’d tell you to stand next to me if you don’t want to get bit because they will bypass you and bite me.  But, in this tropical rain forest, everyone is fair game.  

Try to wear light colored clothing.  Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors.

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

4.  Do not go with complainers

I hiked with an adventurous group, two Austrians, one Canadian, a fellow American, and a few local Grenadians.  Everyone had a great attitude even when some of us took a tumble.  We all had good laughs.  The locals were great and even jumped off the falls for our entrainment.

I’m adventurous but I’m NOT climbing to the top of a waterfall to jump off.  What if I hit a rock?  No thank you!

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

But I could jump off the little fall.  That’s more my speed.  I didn’t though.

Hiking Seven Sisters Waterfall

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

All in all, great trip.  If you’re feel adventurous and outdoorsy, find some good people, hydrate, grab your bug spray and hit the trails.  I promise it’s worth spending the afternoon at the Seven Sisters Waterfalls. 

Find me on pinterest and check out my article on eating real food.

Make practical changes for a healthier lifestyle

Tiffany Rebekah

What’s to do in Grenada? (La Boulangerie)

Get Coffee!

La Boulangerie Grenada

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to play on the blog and now that my semester is finally over a I can start having some fun again.  Yesterday, a friend invited me to La Boulangerie, a for coffee.  It’s quaint little french style bakery/pizzeria complimented with Grenadian influences.  I’d never been, so I was eager to go.  Plus I โ™ฅ๏ธโ˜•๏ธ and anything with carbs.  

Grenada, aka spice island is the worlds largest exporter of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, allspice, orange/citrus peel, and coffee.  So the coffee here must be amazing right? 

La Boulangerie is tucked away in the corner of a building across the street from the Spice Land Mall.  There’s a nice casual atmosphere great for reading or writing.  It’s also within walking distance to Grand Anse Beach โ™ฅ๏ธ.  

La Boulangerie Grenada

While there, I had a chance to reflect on my summer plans.  

  1. I need a new study plan.  I’m going into next semester rocking it! ๐Ÿ““๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“–
  2. I’m going to explore the beautiful island of Grenada ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฉ.
  3. Lastly, share my experiences right here on the blog.  

La Boulangerie Grenada

Today, I only came for coffee, next time I’m coming hungry for breakfast.  Prices are in Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC).  I normally divide the price by 2.67 to convert to US dollars.  Menu prices work with my budge (cheap).  You can get a good breakfast for $10 USD.  

La Boulangerie Grenada

Me being the foodie I am, I flipped through the menu and planned my next few orders.  And dinner prices are within my budge too โœ….  

La Boulangerie Grenada

As we were leaving, I checked out their lunch specials.  I’ll be back to La Boulangerie for that too.  

La Boulangerie Grenada

La Boulangerie is a great place to spend the morning hanging out.  I had a chance to catch up with a friend, drink some coffee, and reflect upon my summer plans.  Oh, I almost forgot….. The cappuccino was delicious.  

This summer, I’ll be eating my way through spice island and telling you all about it.  Lord, please let me make good choices!

Find me on pinterest and check out my article on eating real food.

Make practical choices for a healthier lifestyle.

Tiffany Rebekah

Charter Foundation Program

Charter Foundation Program

I was admitted into the Charter Foundation Program (aka Foundation to Medicine – FTM) at St. George’s University.  The program is designed to prepare students for the rigorous curriculum ahead of them once in the school of medicine.  The program is similar to the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP).  It’s a tough program but upon completion, you will have a definite edge going into term 1.  

Check out this cool video I found of my school on youtube.

Charter Foundation Program
Photo courtesy of www.sgu.edu

The Charter Foundation Program aka FTM 

The curriculum is comprised of 6 courses (17 credit hours).  Successful completion of the program requires a 3.5 GPA (no grade less than a C) and passing their PMSCE (75%).  This is a tough standard, but statistically students that pass have an 80% chance of scoring greater than 220 on the USMLE step 1.  Goal…. score high for a your residency.   

FTM Courses (Spring 2016)

Anatomy (4 credits with lab) –   The anatomical sciences include human gross anatomy, developmental anatomy, histology and cell biology. The course begins with an introduction to anatomical terminology and imaging, cellular organization and the basic tissues. The course continues with an extensive study of the eleven major systems of the human body: Integumentary System, Skeletal System, Muscular System, Cardiovascular System, Lymphatic System, Respiratory System, Digestive System, Urinary System, Male & Female Reproductive Systems, Nervous System and Endocrine System. The course is composed of lecture, laboratory, small group and online activities.  

Grades are calculated out of 330 points.  There’s a midterm and final each worth 100 points, and 2 quizzes each worth 40 points.  The other 50 points come from online assignments, online quizzes, small groups and labs.  This class gives you many opportunities to improve your grade if you mess up on a quiz or exam.  

My evaluation:  There is a ton of information and concepts build quickly.  The quizzes and exams are mostly 1st order questions.  Some questions come directly from the online assignments, online quizzes, lab, and small groups called buzz.  The class is supported by supplemental learning groups (SL).  The SL facilitator provides questions from the lectures to test your knowledge.  Use their packets!  The class average for each exam normally hovers around 80%.  I felt this course was very doable.  It’s not an easy course and you must study everyday because there is a lot of information to digest quickly.  

Physiology (3 credits) – Gives an introduction to physiology.  Topics covered include excitable tissue, resting and action potentials, muscle contractions, autonomic nervous system, functional neuroanatomy, somatic senses, auditory and vestibular system, complex brain function, cardiovascular physiology, respiratory physiology, endocrinology, gastrointestinal physiology, renal physiology, and acid base.  

Grades are out of 130 points.  There are 3 quizzes (10 points each), a midterm (50 points), and the final (50 points).  Exams are not cumulative.  

My evaluation:  I found this course the most difficult of them all.  Learning physiology requires causal reasoning and conceptual integration.  You CAN NOT memorize your way through physiology.  It’s a difficult subject to teach and many students blamed our teachers.  YOU MUST BE A SELF LEARNER!!  You must test yourself frequently.  If you’ve never taken physiology, YOU MUST READ THE BOOK!!!  Exam questions come from several different professors each with their own style. The test are hard.  Invest in Physiology BRS and get the book for the course.  Do as many practice question you can get your hands on.  Study in groups.  This course is supported by SL and their practice questions are very helpful.  The midterm average for our class was around 68%.  Don’t let this scare you, people that hung in there drastically improved their scores on the final.  

Biochemistry (3 credits) –  The objective is to cover the structure and function of biological molecules, the biochemical pathways of intermediary metabolism, the functional significance of biochemical processes as well as their regulation in normal and aberrant states.  Identify the structures and cellular roles of the major macromolecules.  List and explain the major metabolic  pathways (synthesis and degradation) of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids.  Integrate the biochemical information  covered by this course into meaningful knowledge with an emphasis on the functional significance and regulatory mechanisms governing metabolic pathways. 

Grades are based on 4 exams.  Exam 1 & 3 are worth 20% each.  The midterm and the final are worth 30% each.  Exams are not cumulative, however concepts build upon each other.   

My evaluation:  Most people love the director of this course.  We call him Dr. G and he really knows his stuff.  He’s also very funny and will keep you engaged during lecture.  Pay attention to what he says.  I repeat, pay attention to what he says.  Pay attention to every diagram.  He will test you on the same concept over and over again to make sure you understand it.  The exams were tricky.  Hint*** When learning the different pathways focus on regulation and enzymes.  You will need to know the steps, but he won’t ask what’s the 3rd step in glycolysis.  HE WILL ASK HOW IS IT REGULATED.  Just know all the regulation and enzymes.  The class average normally hovers around a B to B+.  The midterm average dropped ~10 points because people didn’t learn regulation and didn’t pay attention to the diagrams.  

Molecular Biology (3 credits) – The course is divided into 3 sections.  

Section 1: Central Dogma of Molecular Biology includes:  DNA Structure and Topology, DNA Replication, Transcription, RNA Processing, and Translation.

Section 2: Gene Regulation includes:  Regulation of Gene Expression in Prokaryotes, Regulation of Gene Expression in Eukaryotes, Translational Regulation, and Antisense, siRNA and MicroRNA

Section 3: Recombinant DNA Technology includes:  Restriction Endonucleases, DNA Cloning and Manipulation, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), DNA Markers,  DNA Forensics,  Genomics and Proteomics, Transgenics and Genetically Modified Organisms, Gene Therapy, and Molecular Cell Biology

Grades:  1% ExamSoft Practice (freebie), Quiz 20% Two Quizzes (highest quiz counts twice), 30% Midterm examination, 40% Final examination, 9% Two Online Practice Exams (more freebies). 

My evaluation:  The exams in this class are very straight forward.  There isn’t a book and everything comes directly from the lecture slides.  Pay attention to anything that’s starred, bolded, or highlighted.  Thirty percent of the course should be an easy A because of the dropped quiz and the online quizzes (which you’re allowed to take over and over again until you get 100%).  The SL sessions were on point too.  If Ms. Penny is still teaching them, go to them.  She’s taken the course before and gives awesome practice questions.  If you can answer her questions you will get an A in the course.  

Abnormal Psychology (3 credits) – This course reviews the major psychiatric disorders as defined in the DSMยญ5. The salient diagnostic features of the mental disorders are highlighted.  Major theories of the etiology of mental illness are reviewed, and neurobiological correlates of abnormal behavior are emphasized when possible. Both psychotherapeutic and biological treatment options and outcomes measures for mental illness are covered. Clinical cases and clinical videos illustrating psychotherapy are utilized to enhance learning.  

Each exam is worth 25% of your grade.  Exams are not cumulative but diagnoses may show up after exam 2.

My evaluation:  Arguably the most favoured professor in the program.  Dr. Kirby is very engaging and her class is extremely enjoyable.  Her exams are tricky but she gives practice questions to test your knowledge.  If you can answer her practice questions you’ll do well on her exams.  Class averages are normally in the B+ range.  

Learning Strategies (1 credit) –  Objectives copied from spring 2016 syllabus.

1. Design a personalized and effective time management schedule

2. Apply individualized time and task principles to course content

3. Organize and modify study approaches in order to study efficiently and to enhance long-term memory

4. Assess different memorization strategies and apply appropriately to course content

5. Assess different reading and note-taking strategies and apply appropriately to course content

6. Assess different note-making strategies and apply appropriately to course content

7. Create effective study groups

8. Assess different test-taking skills for multiple choice questions (MCQ) and apply appropriately to course content

9. Assess different test-taking errors and apply corrections appropriately to specific test situations

10. Recognize own academic attitudes and mental habits and know what adjustments are needed

11. Observe how stress, fear and anxiety impact the learning process and apply effective strategies to minimize that impact

12. Synthesize active learning strategies and higher order reasoning skills to develop effective learning tools for problematic course content

Grades are based on a series of in class and home assignments.  It’s an easy A, don’t stress about this class.  

My evaluation:  This class is a “find yourself” type of course.  It’s designed to help students evaluate their study strategies and correct any gaps in your study habits.  You will be introduced to different study techniques.  Some will work and others won’t.  The cool thing is, it helps you to become a better student and test taker.  Everyone gets an A in this course.   

Charter Foundations Program
Photo courtesy of www.sgu.edu

The Good

Only a selected few get an opportunity to participate in the Charter Foundation Program.  People are mainly picked based on their academic back ground.  Students present with lower MCAT scores, lower GPAs, or have been out of school for a while.  Some students may have not had biochemistry or anatomy.  Either way, students chosen for this program have been identified to benefit from the Charter Foundation Program.  

If you are chosen for this program, feel lucky.  This is an opportunity to prove to yourself and the academic committee that you have what it takes to make it through medical school.  There’s nothing worse than getting accepted into medical school and then failing out with $100,000+ in student loans.  Here, you will build a solid foundation to expand upon for your medical career.

The Charter Foundation Program is 100% refundable.  Yes!  If you’re unsuccessful, you get your tuition money back (~$12,000).  Living expenses are nonrefundable.  Still, not a bad deal.  Click here for detailed cost.

There are many resources to help you succeed.  The supplemental learning sessions (SL groups) are small groups that meet once a week to reinforce concepts discussed in class.  For more challenging courses the department of education services (DES) provide additional study sessions.  DES sessions are normally facilitated by previous students that excelled in the course.  My DES facilitator was awesome.  Shout out to Ruby!  The SL sessions are also great because they provide you with addition practice questions, which you need.  

In my term, the school introduced small groups for anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology.  These groups were designed to test your conceptual knowledge on a deeper level.  It helped reinforce the bigger picture and integrate concepts we learned in class.  Many people struggled with biochemistry and physiology so the school wanted to make sure we thoroughly understood these concepts.  

Learning strategies is a class that helps you with life at SGU.  If you are struggling with things such as test taking skills, time management, or study techniques make an appointment and someone will sit down with you and help plan a schedule.  

As you can see, the school invests a lot of time and money into making sure the students have support in the program.  If you put in the effort, they will help you succeed.  

Charter Foundation Program
Photo courtesy of www.sgu.edu

The Bad

This program is balls to the walls hard!  Why? Because it’s med school boot camp comprised of  17 credit hours.  Each course is demanding on it’s own and combined together makes for a very challenging semester.  Time is the enemy.  Many of us had mental break downs and many quit.  However, a good number of us sucked it up and pushed through.  The school tells you the pass rate is approximately 80%.  My estimated pass rate for our class is approximately 35%.  

This is how I calculated our class pass rate.  Our class began with roughly 70 people and ended with roughly 50 people.  Of those 50 people, roughly half achieved the 3.5 GPA.  Keep in mind, this is a rough estimate, but anyone in my class and previous FTM terms will validate that the FTM pass rate is not 80%.  That may be the pass rate for the PMSCE (cumulative test at the end of the semester that test your basic understanding of your semester courses).  That’s just my best guess.  No one knows the real pass rate.  It’s a secret.  

Another reason it’s so hard is because the 3.5 GPA requirement is stressful.  All B’s ain’t gonna cut it, neither will all B’s and 1 A.  Anything lower means appeals range (3.2 – 3.49).  Not everyone is accepted in the appeals range, and you better have a good reason if you find yourself in this position.  Rumor has it, they want to see improvement and an upward trend in your grades if you fall within this range.  You also need to explain why you didn’t make the 3.5 GPA and what you have learned to become a better student.  

If you realize you will not make the 3.5 GPA you have the opportunity to withdraw and the school will refund your money.  The school also gives you a chance to repeat the FTM program, however you have to go through an appeals process before the school accepts you back.  

Charter Foundation Program

Advice from prior students

**Remember, this is my perspective.  Take what you will, but develop and use what works for you.  

  1. Don’t get behind
  2. Develop a healthy sleeping pattern before you get to Grenada. 
  3. Work on getting in shape before you get to Grenada
  4. Workout regularly once you’re here, and keep up with your workouts even when you don’t want to (trust me, it makes a big difference) 
  5. Learn to cook simple meals
  6. Eat healthy
  7. Make a schedule and stick to it (I’ll post a sample week of my schedule)
  8. Don’t attempt to go to every SL or DES session (pick what works for you quickly, if you can’t learn in groups, don’t go and waste time)
  9. Preview and post view your notes every lecture
  10. Don’t go to Bananas (this will make sense once you’re here)
  11. Take a break at least once a week
  12. Don’t put a class off, study every class often.  
  13. Stay away from negative people
  14. Be selfish with your time, it’s very precious.  
  15. Ask for help sooner than later
  16. Schedule time for your loved ones at least once a week and stick to it!

Charter Foundation Program Sample Schedule

Blue = Class/SL or DES sessions

Green = Self Study

Pink/White = Personal/Free time (email, call home, do nothing)

**I adjusted this week to week based on what was ahead of me and classes that I needed to focus more on.  I added every SL session to remind me when the were, but I only attended the sessions that benefited me.  

charter foundation program

In conclusion, this program is designed to test your mental and emotional endurance.  You have to figure out your strategy quickly.  There is no time for slacking off here.  You have to keep reminding yourself that you’re smart and that’s why you’re here.  This was an emotional roller coaster ride full of many twists and turns.  Even though this was the hardest program I’ve ever done in my life, looking back, I’m glad I was given the opportunity.  

If anyone is thinking about this program or have any questions, leave a comment or email at tiffanyrebekah1@gmail.com with the heading Charter Foundation Program.  I’m happy to share my resources with you.  

Find me on pinterest and check out my article on eating real food.

Make practical changes for a healthier lifestyle.

Tiffany Rebekah

St. George’s University

โ€œLadies and gentlemen, welcome to the Maurice Bishop International Airport in the beautiful St. Georges, Grenada.  Local time is 3:08 p.m. and the temperature is 81 degrees.”  I looked out the window and thought to myself, “OMG, I finally made it.  I’m actually here.”  St. George’s University school of Medicine, here I come. 
St. George's University

On September 16, 2015, I received my one and only acceptance letter into St. George’s University Medical School.  Considering this was the only school I applied to I was ecstatic when the letter came.  Why did I only apply to one school?  Well, there are many reasons which I’ll address later.  What I will tell you is that I really wanted to go SGU and I got in.  Yay me!

St George's University Medical School

St. George’s University Medical School is arguably the most respected medical school in the Caribbean.  The school out ranks all other Caribbean medical schools with residencies.  It also has a higher first time pass rate for the USMLE step 1 exam that rival US and Canadian medical schools.  With this type of reputation, I didn’t want to be any where else.

On top of SGU’s outstanding test scores and residency placement the campus is gorgeous.  SGU is located on the beautiful island of Grenada in the West Indies.  How lucky am I to be able to study medicine in such a beautiful place?  I’m so thankful.  

St. George’s University Medical School

St. George's University

St. George's University

St. George's University

St. George's University

St. George's University

My journey took me on many detours before I landed here.  However, all the hard work and studying has paid off.  The admissions committed saw something in me and I’m so thankful St. George’s University decided to take a chance on me.  Many people stress and struggle getting into medical school and when you finally make it the feeling is unparalleled.  

SGU started me in the Charter Foundations Program, aka Foundations to Medicine.  It’s a 6 month program, to prepare you for term 1.  After successful completion of the program you go straight into the school of medicine.  Here I plan to document my journey.  I’ll talk about the ups, the downs and everything I’ve learned.  I’ll even tell you what I’d do different if I could start over.  

Make practical changes for a healthier lifestyle.

Tiffany Rebekah

Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Las Terrenas

Las Terranes is a beautiful fisherman’s town located in the province of Samana in the Dominican Republic.  I’m almost hesitant to share my amazing find because I don’t want to see it turn into a major tourist destination.  The town is extremely charming and has kept it’s authenticity.  If you’re looking for a quite place to relax that’s not infested with tourist, this is the place to be.  

Las TerrenasImagine a clear sky, a warm ocean and a clean and empty beach.  That’s the lazy town of Las Terrenes.  The people are friendly and life is slow.  It’s a place you’ll never want to leave.  

There’s a windy road that hugs the coastline with several small huts on the beach.  Most of them offer fresh seafood and cocktails upon your request.  It’s not uncommon for a local to catch your meal right in front of you.  It’s a great place to enjoy a carefree lazy Sunday with the ones you love.

Las Terrenas

This beautiful cocktail was called the Coco Loco and it was oh so delicioso!  It was made with local dominican rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. Dominican rums are great quality and are smooth and tasty.  

Sooo, I’m a little ashamed to admit I had several cocktails on the beach.  However, I’m happy to report I did not have any bad side effects or nasty hangovers.   I was pleasntly surprised and took a few bottles home with me duty free.

Las Terrenas

One of my favorite tips with traveling is to go during the off season.  By looking at my photos you can see why.  The beaches are practically deserted.  Not only will you save money, but you’ll avoid over crowdedness and ultimately have more relaxation time with peace and quite.

Las Terrenas
Las Terrenas

Las Terrenas

Do you see the hut behind our beach chairs?  The place is called Playa Colibri.    We rode our bikes hear and hung out until sunset.  The staff was more than friendly and made sure we were taken care of.

Las Terrenas is small town and you’ll be able to get around with a bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, or ATV.  There’s really no need for a car and I loved it!

Las Terrenas

Las Terrenas

After sunset, we biked back to our rented duplex.  It was a perfect day with great friends and I can’t wait to return.  I can’t stress enough the importance of taking time and enjoying life.

Make practical changes for a healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

Follow me on Pinterest and check out my article on eating real food.

That difficult workout could kill you.

workout

I  work in the emergency room as a medical scribe.  I’m exposed to many mind blowing cases and I’m learn a ton daily.  I’ve recently learned, that it is possible to workout too much.  Gasp! Over doing it can cause rhabdomyolysis (rhabdo).  It’s a condition that breaks down skeletal muscle tissue into the bloodstream eventually causing kidney failure which can lead to death.  The condition is considered rare, however I see approximately one case per week.  Seriously, mind blowing!

The cases I’ve witnessed have one common denominator, difficult workouts.  So, how are difficult workouts linked to rhabdomyolysis?  WebMD, states rhabdo is caused by direct or indirect muscle injury.  When most people think of muscle injury they imagine accidents or trauma.  Well, when we workout we are purposefully damaging our muscle tissue.  It’s that burning sensation that we crave which lets us know we’re “really” working out.  

Most of the time, we’ll experience muscle fatigue which is our bodies way of stopping us before we injure ourselves.  However, some people try to push through this feeling going above and beyond their max.  While it’s great to challenge yourself when working out, it’s more important to listen to your body.  

OMG, will I die if I workout to hard?  

I try my darndest not to bombard my physicians with constant questions, but I always have soooooo many.  What causes rhabdo?  Who’s can get this?  How do I prevent it?  Can I still max out at the gym?  

workoutWhen I’m presented with some new case that I think could affect me, I mentally freak out on the inside.  After a few minutes, I pull myself together and start researching.  Then I try to formulate intelligent questions so I don’t sound like a complete idiot.  

After many google searches, I found quite a few articles associating rhabdo with crossfit.  While I haven’t personally seen any cases where the patient admitted to crossfit activity, having done crossfit in the past, I can understand the association.  

The cases I have seen have varied from weight lifting to just difficult daily exercises.  They are normally diagnosed by analyzing symptoms and blood test.  Some common symptoms include muscle weakness, swelling, inability to move, dark urine, or inability to urinate despite staying hydrated.  

workout

The most interesting thing I learned is many times, patients diagnosed with rhabdo have been using some type of dietary supplemental or performance enhancers such as diuretics, creatine, or stimulants.  The problem is that some performance enhancers may cause electrolyte imbalances increasing your chances of rhabdo from prolonged usage.  

While I have nothing against dietary supplements, I’m not a big advocate of them.  The only supplement I take is cold pressed cod liver fish oil.  My chemistry professor told me years ago, they were a waste of money and my physicians have reinforced his claim.  Interestingly enough, half of my physicians (approximately 5/12) still take dietary supplements in the form of multivitamins.  Their reasoning is, they realize their normal diet doesn’t provide them with maximum nutrition.  They admit that most of their supplement is literally flushed down the toilet as urine but they rather have something over nothing.  

So what’s the take away?

Listen to your body.  After difficult workouts, give your body sufficient time to rest and heal.  Don’t over do it.  Eat a well-balanced diet and stay hydrated.  Avoid taking performance enhancers if possible.  I’ve noticed, blood test of those with rhabdo have high amounts of creatine and low amounts of potassium.  

Most importantly, if you’re starting a new workout regimen consult with professionals.  Still kill it in the gym, but be safe.  This is by no means a reason not to to stay active.  

If you experience any of the mentioned symptoms, go to the emergency room immediately.  Everyone will not react the same way, but if your body feels “off” seek medical attention.  

Hopefully, you learned something.  I did.  

Make practical changes for a healthier lifestyle.

Tiffany Rebekah

Follow me on Pinterest or Instagram and check out my article on Eating Real Food.